Bloggy Moms

Friday, March 29, 2013

It Takes a Village

 **I know that my next post was supposed to be more about getting Princess help at school but God has put this blog post topic on my heart so I had to share it.

Whether or not you like or agree with Hillary Clinton and her politics there is no denying that she made the phrase "It takes a village..." part of our current vocabulary. She taught us that we cannot say "Well what do I care? He (or She) is not my child. " I have learned first hand that even in busy Southern California, we are all making time to help each others children.
I do want to acknowledge though that it is God who is bringing the villagers to my husband and I. We see His mighty work in so many facets with finding help for Princessand for us as her parents.
When I first began this journey,  I contacted one of the pastors at my church to ask about an MFT who would take our insurance. Well the pastor gave me some names. Then in a separate email he mentioned one other. This one other therapist has been with us for almost three years. I call her the hub. She is the one who put us in contact with a wonderful clinical psychologist who first did an evaluation on Princess. She is the one who has put us in contact with the fabulous doctor we now have. She pushed us to try to get the best care for Princess. When we were having so many difficulties getting Princess help from the school, it was this therapist who gave us the name of the amazing educational advocate we have. When we needed to get Princess some extra help at a behavior center, it was she who checked it out by calling the facility very late at night. She also went online to learn more about the center. God knew all along who we would need to navigate the waters for Princess. He chose to use this lovely women to do a lot of it. We are blessed to have such a caring therapist on our side.
My husband and I have friends who are worth their weight in gold. One of my dear friends is like a sister to me. We have been through thick and thin together. Another friend has a daughter Princess's age. Princess and her play so well together. When our family is having a challenging night, I know that I can text this friend and she will pray for me right away. My husband has this one friend who will just stop by to see how things are going. We know he and his wife pray for us on a regular basis. 
Then there is the matter of neighbors. God put just the right family right across the street from us. The parents are Christians who just happen to have three daughters who are babysitting age. We couldn't ask for better sitters. They are so kind, patient and understanding with Princess. They know when to push and when to let things go. I heard that one of the girls' friends wanted to watch Princess once. This daughter told her friend " That's OK, Princess is special and she requires special love and attention." This made my heart melt to hear this.
(By the way- I do have to say that all of Princess's sitters are Christians. For this my husband and I are grateful.)
 When we first heard that Princess might have a mood disorder, I went to my local bookstore looking for books on the subject. I did find one book that interested me. At the end of one of the chapters a website was listed. This online support group has been my lifeline. Just when I think that no one has a child like mine, someone will post something about their child that is just like mine. This gives me great peace. While this is not a Christian site, God has used this site in a mighty way in my life.
At church we have several groups that have been part of our village. Our adult Sunday school has been used by God to minister to us as well. We have received cards, emails, meals, prayers and most recently a check to cover some unexpected expenses when Princess was in the behavior center last Fall.  My husband and I both belong to Bible study/ prayer groups that have let us be real in front of them. We know we are being prayed for on a consistent basis.
Even though Princess attends a public school we are finding a number of Christians there. Several of Princess's teachers have been or are believers. Her new school counselor is a Christian as is at least one of her bus drivers.
I leave you with two thoughts: 1) Princess's new school counselor said," Wow! You have a lot of supportive people on your side." 2) The picture of the bus below is to remind you that our village even has a Christian bus driver.
Photo courtesy of

Monday, March 25, 2013

Getting Help from the School

After we got  Princess's first diagnosis of severe ADHD, we needed to get the school on board with us. This is no small feat. Even now almost three years later there are days when I feel we are all on the same page and other days where I feel the school either has no clue how to meet  Princess's needs or they do but it is a money issue.
Some kids withdraw when they are overwhelmed with school or life in general. Others like  Princess act out. In Kindergarten  Princess had this fabulous teacher who really knew how to connect with her students. She has a very easy going manner but her students knew what was expected of them.  Princess did well in her class until the Student Teacher assigned to her class began assuming more responsibility. Then things began to go south.
About this time we asked for an SIT (Student Intervention Team) Meeting with the school psychologist and the classroom teacher. This is was to be our first of many meetings like this. At this meeting the school felt  Princess's problems were perhaps based on parenting skills that we needed to work on. We were encouraged to seek out family counseling. Well this is where we met Miss R. who encouraged us to get a doctor's note from our pediatrician stating that  Princess had ADHD. Once we had this in hand we returned to the school to set up a 504 plan to put some supports in place. This initially got us through the rest of the school year.
 Princess was able to go to the RSP ( Resource Specialist Program) room to cool down and the RSP teacher came into  Princess's classroom to provide extra support as well.
In first grade  Princess did OK but had problems in the on site daycare program and got lost once in the classroom. I have to laugh now because the Gen Ed. teacher and the RSP teacher could not find  Princess anywhere. They finally found her hiding in a corner of the classroom.
During parent/ teacher conferences in the Spring I requested that  Princess be placed in one of their special enrichment programs. The class that they put her in in 2nd grade had students in in K-3.
Before the start of  Princess's 2nd grade year I requested and was denied a meeting with the new teacher and the RSP teacher because  Princess was having some issues that I was pretty certain would carry over into the classroom.  The RSP teacher told me that we'd have another 504 meeting in the first few weeks of school.
Call it mommy instinct but  Princess did have a lot of trouble transitioning back to school that Fall. Within the first week my husband and I were called into an emergency meeting. At this meeting I requested testing for  Princess to get her some additional supports. We were again denied something that we requested. We were told that we should have  Princess at home and have a teacher come to our house until things calmed down a bit with  Princess. Our therapist strongly advised against this as it would not be solving anything. It was just a band aide for the school. It would make things easier for the school but not us.
A few days later we were summoned to the school because my husband had sent a formal letter requesting testing in a number of very specific areas. The school agreed to test  Princess but sent her back to her home school. They said the special program was not working out for  Princess. They also told us that there wasn't any room for  Princess in one of their regular 2nd grade rooms.
Wow! What a shock! I was elated on the one hand because they were finally going to test  Princess but saddened on the other because my child got kicked out of school. I was a classroom teacher. These things aren't supposed to happen to my child.
Before  Princess started at her home school, I demanded a meeting with the school personnel so we could have supports in place before  Princess even set foot on campus.
We were blessed to have a wonderful and very knowledgeable school psych that year. He did an awesome job at looking at all sides. This man got  Princess a lot of extra supports.
We also hired an advocate that coordinated with the school and us. She knows the law and what Princess  is entitled too. It was so nice going into our first official IEP meeting knowing that someone was there to represent us.
That first IEP carried  Princess through until the beginning of third grade. More of our story to come soon.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Me a Stay-at-Home Mom?

This post is overdue but I say better late than never. I'd like to fill you in on how I came to be a Stay-at-Home Mom. AKA SAHM. I never in a million years thought I would be a SAHM. I mean I had a career. I had a job I loved with people I loved. I was the one who took care of (I mean taught) other peoples' kids. When Princess was a baby, I was so happy to return to teaching after my maternity leave was over. Sure I missed my baby girl but we caught up when I got off of work. There were plenty of milestones that I did not miss. I had it all: the white picket fence, the career, a loving husband and a cute kid.
 Princess was in daycare/ preschool until she entered school. Shortly after Princess turned two, my husband became more of the SAHD. He worked part time but I was the main bread winner. It worked for us because I had a career that I adored.
Well in 2012 that all began to change. My career became increasingly stressful. At the same time  Princess became more unstable. In early 2012 I decided to take some time off of work to work on my stuff. I have to admit. I enjoyed my time off. I was able to just focus on being a mom and a wife.
Then in August of 2012 I returned to teaching with a new found vigor. By gum I was going to make this work. It quickly became apparent that I could no longer handle the stress of full time teaching so I went out on leave again at the beginning of October.
Shortly after I went out, things started to really heat up with  Princess. It became clear to me that she needed her mom to be there for her. My husband was doing a fabulous job but there is just something about a mother's touch. My maternal instincts kicked into high gear and I did everything in my power to get help for my child. If  Princesshad cancer or diabetes,  I would have stopped at nothing to get her the best help that I could find.
As  Princess became more and more stable, I realized that she needed more of me than I had previously been giving her. If she would have been a regular kid, perhaps I would have been able to keep teaching but that is not the case. She is a high needs child. Her needs are high so I must rise to the challenge and do what is required of me.
When I first started noticing how stressful teaching was becoming for me, I freaked out. I didn't understand why God was giving me this trial. I thought that my husband and I were already at our limit for stress. It didn't make sense to either of us. Well now I know. It was so that God could show me where He needed me most: At home taking care of Princess's needs.
So what do I do when Princess is on school. I thought I'd be bored to tears but I am not. I actually enjoy doing things around the house like cooking and laundry. I am a moderator for one of the support groups at The Balanced Mind Foundation., an online community for parents with children who have mood disorders. I spend time coordinating  Princess's educational and mental health needs. ( I looked at our schedule for next week. We have at least one appointment every day that is related to  Princess's mental health needs. Yikes!) I get to go grocery shopping without feeling rushed.  Yes I do get to meet with friends on occasion but that is the exception, not the rule. I do hope to get involved in a weekly women's bible study too.
This will be a stretch for our family financially but I have faith that this is where God wants me to be for now.
 This picture as taken a while ago but is still one of my favorites.

As an aside- About the time my career in teaching, my husband's was just taking off. We are hopeful that his new job will continue to do just that. Who brought him this job? Why God of course. More in another post.